After the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the whole Chinese public strongly demanded the recovery of Hong Kong and Macao (Macau).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (ROC) put forward several plans to resolve the Macao issue, including the forceful recovery. The Portuguese Macao government prevented the Macao people from celebrating the Double Tenth Day (National Day) in October 1945. The Guangdong (廣東) provincial government thus sent troops to garrison and seal off Macao on the grounds that the Portuguese sheltered Japanese war criminals and pro-Japan factions. However, under the leadership of the Kuomintang of China (KMT, 中國國民黨), the Nationalist Government ordered to withdraw the Chinese garrison and lift the blockade of Macao in December the same year, considering the overall situation and the “integration of Hong Kong and Macao”. The recovery plan was hence temporarily put on hold. However, the Guangdong provincial government still repeatedly requested the Nationalist Government to negotiate with Portugal for Macao’s recovery.
With the government’s army steadily losing ground in the Chinese Civil War in the early 1949, the Portuguese Macao government feared that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, 中國共產黨) would take the opening to recover Macao. It therefore seek military assistance from Britain and the United States, and augmented the defence of Macao. However, the newly established government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) took a different strategy of “long-term planning and full utilisation” to handle the Hong Kong and Macao issue. Given the unstable domestic situation and the special international status of the two cities, the PRC government remained them as international channels between China and the West. The December 3rd Incident in 1966 became an important turning point in Macao’s postwar history.
Zhang Huichang (張惠長) served as the County Magistrate of Zhongshan County (中山縣), Guangdong Province, during the War of Resistance and the early postwar period.
General Zhang Fakui (張發奎), photographed after the victory of the War of Resistance in 1945.
A photo of Chiang Kai-shek with Soong Tse-vung (宋子文) taken in 1946. Soong served as the Chairman of Guangdong Provincial Government from September 1947 to January 1949, during which he dealt with the Hong Kong and Macao issue.
The PLA took over the Gongbei (拱北) area on 5 November 1949. Representatives from organisations including Kiang Wu Hospital, Overseas Chinese Association, and Preparatory Committee of Democratic Women’s Association, as well as workers from the typesetting room of Tai Chung Daily, set up a labour delegation. It set out from Kiang Wu Hospital to extend regards to the PLA garrisoned at Qianshan (前山) on 9 November. With the defeat of the ROC government in the Chinese Civil War and its moving to Taiwan (台灣), the PRC government established in October 1949 began to negotiate with Britain and Portugal on the Hong Kong and Macao issue. (Provided by Kiang Wu Hospital Charitable Association, cited from “Macao Memory”, Macao Foundation)
A group photo of the labour delegation of Kiang Wu Hospital taken in 1949 in front of the school building. (Provided by Kiang Wu Hospital Charitable Association, cited from “Macao Memory”, Macao Foundation)
Overseas Chinese groups and schools in Macao held an assembly with thousands of participants at Ping’an Grand Theatre on 20 November 1949 to celebrate the liberation of Guangzhou (廣州) and the founding of the PRC. The photo shows the programme brochure of the assembly. (Provided by Kiang Wu Hospital Charitable Association, cited from “Macao Memory”, Macao Foundation)
The Tak Sing passenger ship mooring in Macao’s Inner Harbour. The ship rescued 56 soldiers from the PLA ships to receive treatment in Macao during the Wanshan Archipelago Campaign. (Collected by Mr. Lei Kun-min, provided by Macao Association for Historical Education, cited from “Macao Memory”, Macao Foundation)
The expansion of a school building in Taipa triggered conflicts between the police and the people on 15 November 1966, which touched off the December 3rd Incident. Macao was frequently affected by the domestic situation after the PRC was found, with the December 3rd Incident on the list.
The masses destroyed the statue of Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita at the Senate Square during the December 3rd Incident. Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita led the Portuguese army to defeat the army of the Qing dynasty (清朝) and occupy the Border Gate in the Pak Shan Lan Incident in 1849.
The police firing tear gas at the demonstrators at a street clash during the December 3rd Incident. (Photographed by Mr. Fung Cheuk-wah, provided by the Photographic Society of Macao, cited from “Macao Memory”, Macao Foundation)
Photo credit: Fotoe (pictures 1-3), Macao Foundation (pictures 4-7, and 10), and misc. photo sources.